This week we continue to work our way through the Gospel of Luke by taking a look at Luke 9:28-36.

Os Guinness is an astute social critic and observer of Americans. He is British by birth but he has lived in America for much of his adult life. I know that many of you have read his scintillating books. He loves America and he loves Americans, but because he's British he has a particular eye for some of our idiosyncrasies and some of the tendencies we may not be aware of ourselves. The frog doesn't always know when he's boiling in the kettle, and Guinness, loving us as he does, often incisively tells us things about ourselves that we may not appreciate. Not too long ago he wrote this about especially secular America: "We have too much to live with and too little to live for. Everything is permitted and nothing is important."

I think if you're like me, you recognize that there's more than just a little bit of truth about that to the culture that we inhabit. And we feel it ourselves. We have so much to live with and sometimes very little to live for. We have unimaginable freedoms and we like to exercise those freedoms, but there're not many things that are so important to us that we're willing to lay those freedoms down and deny ourselves and live for something bigger.

Well, I think Luke is pressing a similar question and issue on us today. He's just talked about Jesus' call to self denial and now he's asking you this question - "Is the Jesus you worship big enough to overshadow everything in life? Is the Jesus you worship big enough to live for? Is the Jesus you worship more important than anyone or anything? Is the Jesus you worship big enough to inspire a self denial of the things and the ones that are more precious to you? How big is your Jesus?"

Now Luke gives a very emphatic answer to that question as to the real Jesus in this passage and there are two things in particular that he draws our attention to. We will look at the first one this week and will pick up the second one next week.



I. Who Is Jesus?

First of all Luke draws our attention to who Jesus is in a quite amazing way. The first thing that he does in this passage is he draws attention to Jesus as he is praying and he says this - "The appearance of His face was altered and His clothing became dazzling white."

The focus of this passage is Jesus. It's Jesus whose facial appearance is altered and whose clothing becomes dazzling white.

And then Luke shows the greatness of Jesus in verses 30 and 31, because who shows up to talk with Him but Moses and Elijah. Moses, the greatest prophet that ever existed in the history of Israel - the lawgiver; the prophet of whom God says "no one will rise like him again"; a prophet who saw the glory of the Lord. And then Elijah who had been carried up in a whirlwind - the great defender of the monarchy of God in Israel and one that every good Bible-believing Hebrew looked to be the forerunner of the coming Messiah. And there they are.

They're talking with Jesus and they're talking about what He's going to do. "There were two men talking with Him, Moses and Elijah, and they spoke of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem." They're talking with Him about His accomplishments. It's clear who's the greatest here.

This is Luke's way of drawing your attention to the glory of who Jesus is - even Moses and Elijah are transfixed by His glory and focused on His ministry and speaking with Him not of their accomplishments but of His accomplishments.

And then again Luke draws attention to the person of Jesus in verse 32 when he says "Peter and James and John, they're sleeping." Jesus is praying; they're sleeping - does that sound familiar to you? But when they wake up - don't you love that phrase? - "they saw His glory."

Now you know that in the Old Testament one of the phrases, one of the euphemisms for God is, "The glory," because no man can see God and live. Very often you hear Moses asking this - he's on a mountain in the Old Testament and what does he say to the Lord? "Show me Your glory." Now here we are and Luke knows you're good Bible students and He's got Moses here who once on a mountain asked to see God's glory and here's Moses and here's Jesus and here's Peter and James and John waking up and what do they see? Glory. Who's glory? His glory. Who's His? Jesus. It's Luke's way of drawing attention to the person of Jesus Christ.

And then here's the climax. You see it in verse 35 - "a cloud comes and overshadows them." And in the Old Testament what is a cloud so often a symbol of? The presence of God; the presence of God with Israel. Protecting and guiding them in the wilderness was a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire. When God spoke to His people He often spoke out of the cloud with thunder and lightening and Jesus pictures His coming again on clouds. It's a symbol of the powerful presence of God and this cloud overshadows the mountain and these men tremble and then a voice speaks. And the voice speaks and says, "This is My Son, My Chosen One." Herod had asked, "Who is He?" The disciples had said, "They say this about You." And then in response to Jesus' question they had said, "You are the Christ." Now God Himself says, "This is My Son. This is the Chosen One."

You see what Luke is saying? He's saying this One is worth living and dying for. This One is worth losing everything for. This One is worth denying yourself for because there is no one like Him and there is no one equal to Him and there's no one greater than Him and He is greater than everyone else. This One, this Jesus, is the Chosen Messiah. God's own lips have spoken it. He is the Son of God. He is more important than anything. He is more important than everything. He's big enough, He's important enough to overshadow everything in your life.

Luke is saying to you, "What could possibly be so important to you that it's more important than anything in life? What could possibly be so important to you that it overshadows everything else? What could possibly be so important to you that you'd be willing to deny yourself anything?" And Luke is saying there is only one answer to that question - Jesus. There's only one equal to that kind of self-denial. There's only one worth living for and dying for. There's only one who's big enough to overshadow everything in life. Luke is saying that it's Jesus.